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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  May 23, 2013 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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strikes. some republicans saying that, in fact, they shouldn't be. mart martin? >> nbc's kristen welker at the white house on this thursday afternoon. thank you, kristen. >> reporter: thank you, martin. >> thank you for watching. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. obama tells it like it is. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. president obama was at the top of his form today speaking logically and authentically to the american people about something truly important. protecting the u.s. in a time of danger. most powerful, i think, fbs the clarity of his arguments regarding drones. the targeting of americans who are making war on their country right now, and what to do with those prisoners down in guantanamo bay. on each point of action he raised the quite reasonable
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questions of whether a conscientious president can avoid acting as he has done. most powerful, i think, was the matter he handled the woman who kept crying out, interrupting hill. why i have no idea why his host down there allowed this to go on as long as it did, the president managed to present the callout as an example of democratic government in action. it was, i believe, the kind of presidential leadership many of us applaud. it probably helps i agree with everything the president said today. john podesta, he was white house chief of staff during president clinton's administration. "mother jones" washington bureau chief david corn is an msnbc political analyst. first, the unexpected. the president was twice interrupted, actually more than that, by a very loud protester. let's take a look. >> we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee. now, ma'am, let me -- let me finish. let me finish, ma'am. this is part of free speech is
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you being able to speak, but also you listening. and me being able to speak. [ applause ] >> well, the president obviously didn't let it throw him. however, he ended a very strong speech, i think, on a powerful note about what victory in a war on terrorism would actually look like. he even managed to tie in, as i said, that woman who was interrupting him. she's from code pink. let's take a listen. >> our victory against terrorism won't be measured in a surrender ceremony at a battleship. or a statue being pulled to the ground. victory will be measured in parents taking their kids to school. immigrants coming to our shores. fans taking in a ball game. a veteran starting a business. a bustling city street. a citizen shouting her concerns at apresident. and long after the current messengers of hate have faded
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from the world's memory, alongside the brutal despots and deranged mad men and ruthless demagogues who litter history, the flag of the united states will still wave from small town cemeteries, to national monuments, to distant outposts abroad, and that flag will still stand for freedom. >> and the president also defended the targeting of americans believed to be fighting against their own country. our country. yesterday attorney general eric holder told congress that four americans had been killed in drone strikes. though only one had been specifically targeted. that was anwar al awlaki. the president today reminded people who was involved in the planning of the 2009 attempted bombing in that airplane over detroit. here's what the president said about targeting americans who make war on this country. let's watch. >> to begin with, our actions are effective. dozens of highly skilled al qaeda bomb makers and operatives
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have been taken off the battlefield. the plots have been disrupted that would have targeted international aviation, u.s. transit systems, european cities, and our troops in afghanistan. simply put, these strikes have save looiives. it is false to assert putting boots on the ground is less likely to result in civilian deaths or less likely to create enemies in the muslim world. the results would be more u.s. deaths, more blackhawks down, more confrontations with local populations, and an inevitable mission creep in support of such raids that could easily escalate into new wars. >> let me go to david corn. david, you were watching this tonight, today, rather. i was overwhelmed by it not because it was great oratory. it wasn't. it was clarity. it was like a bill clinton speech. it was clintonesque in this. he was able to incorporate what wasn't on that teleprompter. let's just say that outspoken
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person from code pink that wouldn't stop who should have made her point and then stopped but didn't. he held on. he kept cool. >> what i thought was remarkable about this speech, and we haven't seen this to this extent, is we have a commander in chief, president of the united states, grappling in public with some of these very real dilemmas between civil liberties and security concerns. real security concerns. i think what he said won't sway, win over those people who criticize him from the civil libertarian left and right, but you can see that he thinks about this stuff seriously. and more importantly, he was really calling for a new realism when thinking about terrorism. that it's not going to be this, you know, perpetual war, that we have do be able to put terrorism and the challenges it gives us within a context. and that was the -- we're not going to have this war on terrorism forever. and i think you're going to see mccain and other folks react very, very strongly to that, to this sort of trying to put this into perspective and context.
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i thought it was a very mature approach, but i don't think, you know, the republicans are going to enjoy it that much. >> yeah, i think it's fair to say we have -- i like him -- a center left president. he was speaking today to his center-right, center-left audience. understanding to the left. he was talking to them in a way with -- he never talks about the right. we can understand why. intellectually, with sympathy to their point of view. >> chris, i've been critical of the president on this one for not being out more in front of what the law was that underlined the drone strikes and explaining that to the american people, sharing the underlying legal analysis with the congress. but i think he sees the initiative today. he spoke, i think, across the board to the entire political spectrum. but i think he really made the case to his base and to the left that this was a just war, this was a war of proportion, this
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was a war of self-defense and it was a war that was being waged on legal grounds. that's a very important message in the united states. it's also a critical message to our allies and to people around the world. >> you both have a similar mindset i think, maybe a notch or two to the president's left which i like for this purpose of this conversation. let's take these issues. the use of drones. the president's defense was very logical, as i said, and very clear. he said we can't go in boots on the ground, we can't start wars because they could lead to mission creep and fight a local war that becomes a big war if we put boots on the ground to get a bad guy. on the other hand, he said, we can't let somebody out there plan our demise. we're looking at now a drone. we have the technology, they have the element of surprise. we used the technology against those who think they have an edge on us. and surprise. i thought it was a good argument. what do you think? use of drones to get the bad guys. >> well, it was interesting to me because while he was justifying the use of drones, he also was announcing they're going to become more restrictive
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in the use of drones. >> explain what he said. >> well, he said the criteria is very -- is going up. we know the use of drones have been cut back in the past couple months, and he, himself, talked about how sometimes drones have caused civilian casualties and that has turned the population against the united states in afghanistan, pakistan, and elsewhere. that's something to be factored in. if you compare this to the bush/cheney approach which was the commander in chief was supreme and could basically do anything with executive power in this war on terror, here was a president coming forward and saying, i'm going to ratchet back, be more restrictive on drones and give congress more oversight, something john is right, he hasn't done enough of so far. >> right now he's basically put the same rules of engagement, restrictions on hitting nonamerican nationals. >> very close. >> very close. >> and i think that they were trying -- i think he was trying to -- we won't see the playbook. the so-called playbook.
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that is -- that is still a classified document. but it will be shared completely with congress which i think is a very important point. but it looks like they're drawing the program in. they're using it only for very high-value targets, for senior leadership of al qaeda and affiliated organizations. and i think that's a very important move. >> let's take a look at the president here defending. here it is now. something very important. the rules he's going to follow, has been following in terms of targeting american citizens believed to be fighting against this country. let's listen to this very important point here. >> for the record, i do not believe it would be constitution for the government to target and kill any u.s. citizen, with a drone or with a shotgun, without due process. nor should any president deploy armed drones over u.s. soil. but when a u.s. citizen goes abroad to wage war against america, and is actively plotting to kill u.s. citizens,
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and when neither the united states nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot, his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a s.w.a.t. team. >> that's my side of the argument in our family fights, by the way, john podesta. we have this fight. david corn's family, too, and maybe your family. these people have declared war against the united states -- i don't like to use the word turncoats. they hate our country enough, they've sent bombers in here. what are you going to do about it? >> i think he made two points. one, he took off the table that he's going to use drones to go in and shoot people in the united states, he said off the table. and the other thing i think is -- and it occurred yesterday as well with the holder letter to senator leahy. they put very strict restrict n restrictions on targeting and hitting u.s. citizens.
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and awlaki who was the one person targeted by the u.s. was clearly involved in acting to try to send bombers over to the united states. >> he laid that out really well. he also talked about wanting to blow up an airplane over detroit with the killing of 100 to 200 people. what this guy was doing at the time. let me go back to what i thought was an interesting rhetorical move here. he said, or a shotgun. in other words, he was saying the principle here isn't what technology we use, although we have the most advanced. it's whether we have the right to attack an american, shoot an american, or kill an american who has basically changed sides. that's a tricky one. i don't have any problem with that. where are you on that, david? >> people get worked up about drones as opposed to s.w.a.t. teams, special operation forces, or shotguns all of which can be used to kill people. i think he was saying the principle here isn't an inherent to drones. it's the bigger principle. can you kill an american citizen abroad and under what
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conditions? if you look at the letter attorney general holder sent yesterday and what john just mentioned and what the president said today, they're trying to come up on paper, at least, with a pretty restrictive set of criteria. it will be up to congress to oversee it and make sure there are definitions of what's imminent, an imminent threat against the united states. we've seen in some of the paper that's come out over the last year or two that sometimes their definition of imminent is very elastic. but, you know, they're coming up with guidelines that are good on paper and if they give congress the oversight and congress actually acts on the oversight, another problematic part of the equation, this could be a better regime than what we have now. >> this gets to the very question. let's look at this, what he said about closing get knitmgitmo. what to you do with bad guys? i use that term in terms of east/west fighting. bad guys out to get the united states who we don't have a case against in terms of a court. we know what they're going to do the minute they get out. come back and try to hit us again. here's what he said about the
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problem of gitmo and closing the prison down there. >> even after we take these steps, one issue will remain. how to deal with those gitmo detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks but who cannot be prosecuted, for example, because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. but once we commit to a process of closing ge ining gitmo, i amt that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law. and i know the politics are hard, but history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism and those of us who fail to end us. >> this is our family fight, again. what do you do with people you know who are out to get us but can't make a case against them? >> this is a very small number. 86 have been cleared to leave. >> right. >> out of 166. most can be tried. we have a very small number --
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>> okay. less than 50. what do we do with them? >> less than 20 probably. >> what do we do with them? >> in some cases they can be held as enemy combatants. i think it's a small number. what the president is being reinvigorated to do is close get know. >> can he put people like that in the united states? >> he can put them in a supermax in the united states at 1/15th the cost of the holding -- >> some people are like, just let them go. they come back and blow up a lot of americans, whose fault is that? john podesta. thank you for showing up tonight. i know you watch the speeches as close as i do. s the white house's bungled response. this isn't right or wrong. it's about incompetence i think. guess what we're going to talk about? reince priebus. we're going to talk to him and some of the crazies mitch
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mcconnell has been saying. the president's proponents and their baseless charge. also virginia republicans clearly haven't got the stay away from divisive social issues memo. if anybody wrote one on that side. wait until you catch this act. he says planned parenthood has been more -- he compares black voter support for democrats to, of course, slavery. is this the talk of somebody who wants to win an election? by the way, good luck, cuccinelli. call it what you want. i don't believe that. getting rid of the filibuster for appointments to your own cabinet. seems like a reasonable idea. harry reid is talking about it seriously. you don't have to get 60 votes in the senate just to make your commerce secretary. are we going to get rid of filibustering? we'll see. most of us are embarrassed by old high school photos of ourselves. some are. well, see if you can spot a 17-year-old future president in that picture. and his 1979 -- what a kid -- prom picture. we'll be right back with more about that. this is "hardball." the place for politics. a lot of tech jobs i knew e
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coming right back to talk about rnc chairman, the infamous reince priebus and his claim, that's all it is, that president obama is engaged in guerilla warfare. did you notice? and lawlessness. that's what reince had to say. ou what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪ humans. even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, we still run into problems. namely, other humans. which is why at liberty mutual insurance,
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welcome back to "hardball." disorganized, piecemeal messy. those shouldn't be words to describe a communications strategy. certainly not at the white house. rolling disclosures among the irs controversy dealt serious blows to the administration's image and credibility. not helping matters, yesterday's top hearings. a top irs official lois lerner took the fifth amendment, fueling gop cries of a cover-up. now nbc news congressional correspondent kelly o'donnell is reporting as i speak a source tells nbc news lerenr has been placed on administrator leave.
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there's no denying the administration missteps, i have to ask, what right does he have to speak on any matter involving ethics? karen finney and ron reagan are both msnbc political analysts. i'll let you both speak your mind. that's why you're here, karen and ron. my view is this. screwups are not need for penitential action. when reince priebus crosses the line to giving us moral leadership, we must laugh. it has opened, of course, the door for gop featherweights like rnc chair reince priebus to launch accusations. they sound serious. priebus tweeted. "great show with sean hannity tonight. it's lawlessness and guerilla warfare and obama is is in the middle of it." this morning he doubled down on those accusations. here he was on "morning joe." i don't know why they put him on. i guess they're open to all people's points of view on that show. listen to this. >> i think it's evidence of
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political warfare gone amok on behalf of the administration. i'm entitled to an opinion that this is political guerilla warfare and it's lawlessness. >> you don't think that the administration's in the middle of this? you don't think the white house is in the middle of this? >> they've already admitted it. >> you have the irs targeting conservative groups, tea party groups and any person critical of the white house. what would you think? i mean, give me a break. but to the extent of how far it goes and how far up it goes, the evidence has to come in. >> karen, let's just take the logic of his sentences. i'm entitled to -- you can't have an opinion on everything that's worth everything. i can say the moon is made of blue cheese. that's my opinion. here's a guy saying i am accusing the white house of intervention of the irs screwups over there, the targeting of the tea party and patriot groups. of course, i can't tell you any information, i have no evidence, but it's my oopinion. >> this is the same man, as chairman of the wisconsin gop, was implicated in a vote caging
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scandal which was about suppressing votes of minorities and college students. we saw that again when he was chairman of the -- >> so when he was in school? >> when he was chairman of the rnc in wisconsin. >> so there's a pattern because nationwide we're going to go into this in a moment, tremendous pattern under him of dozens and dozens and dozens of states under republican control, consistently denying voting hours when african-americans tend to vote. look at this. there were at least 180 voter suppression bills introduced in 41 states since the beginning of 2011. according to the advancement project. a non-profit civil rights organization. it's all under reince priebus. never has he taken a thing back. but celebrate to keep minority people. poor people, people that live in row houses, kids who don't have cars. if it makes it harder to vote, he has championed the closing of the door. then he comes out and says there's some conspiracy of the
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president that he can't prove. >> if that map you just showed tnt guerilla warfare, i don't know what it is. while we all believe it's a overreach, and i think it is, he recognizes this scandal is an opportunity for them to galvanize the tea party base between the tea party and the establishment of the republican party. heading into 2014, this is how you keep -- >> ha what do you think of that, ron? a way to get the republican center right, reasonable right, feeling the same sort of goose bumps of excitement over the fact they now have obama on the ropes and they can crush him in 2014? >> indeed. reince priebus earlier was -- >> did you call him reince priebus? i prefer him better than -- >> he's kind of a blunt object. however you pronounce that. he was cauctioning people not n ov
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to jo overreach. lawlessness. it's the dilemma of the republican party. here they've been handed these scandals if you want to call them. none of the scandals actually implicates president obama. and they're desperate to do that. they're desperate to get their base fired up. and their base will believe anything they say about president obama. >> to make karen's point -- let's take a look at what boehner, the speaker of the house had to say. he also is making the point that somehow obama was working over there with his green eye shades, working over there in a long row of typewriters, whatever they still have over there, going over the numbers. here he is blaming the president. i bet president obama doesn't know where the irs is in washington. certainly not in cincinnati. let's listen. >> drip, drip, drip. every day there's something new. we don't know how deep this extends within the administration, and that's why our committees are going to continue to investigate this. but what is most troubling in this white house is that the lights are on, but there doesn't
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seem to be anybody at home. treasury department knew about this last year. the white house was made aware of it last month. yet no one, no one thought that they should tell the president. fairly inconceivable to me. >> inconceivable. true, actually. in fact, that's the grate irony of our 180 views of things between me and boehner is i think he should have been told so he could have jumped on it. he thinks he was told. the "washington post" -- just a minute, "washington post" reports today senior white house aides including the president's chief counsel were focused on shielding obama from the issue despite the flammable politics of the story. here's what she said. somebody said in the paper today "ruemmler's lawyerly focus sometimes conflicts with political imperatives. the absence of such dominant first-term personalities, david axelrod and rahm emanuel, left the white house scrambling to contain its public image. unlike most senior white house
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aides, ruemmler has no campaign experience. a former colleague said she wasn't really interested in politics." so here's my question. this is not critical to the president's ethics, i think are incredibly above the standard of what we've gotten used to. i think he would have been better off if somebody had -- the minute the chief of staff mcdonough got ahold of this information, the preliminary report, he should have walked in there, get on top of this. this is the galloping horse of history. i only got an early report on this. i just heard of it. the first time i get more information on it there are going to be people in administrative leaves and heads are going to roll if this happened. that way he'd be the prosecutor of the case instead of what looks like the political defendant. >> i agree with you on that. i think what they were thinking, though, is, let's try to get all the facts and get all the information. >> that worked out. >> also when you're in government, you can do that when you're in a campaign and control everything. when you're in government, you don't know what you don't know. >> you know what, mcdonough should have found out.
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sha this president is in trouble over something he didn't do wrong. when you let that happen in the white house, you're not serving the guy. ron, i wish we had more time. do you have a last quick thought? >> let me play devil's advocate on the last point. what if the president had been brought in early? wouldn't the republicans be accusing him of tainting the investigation? >> not if he's standing at the lectern blasting lois lern reer blasting shulman, miller. saying these are not good public officials. >> you don't blast somebody until the facts are in. >> you have the facts in the preliminary report. on april 24th, the preliminary results were in about what we've been talking about. it all leaked out. a patriot's group targeting of tea party groups. exactly what we know now we know then. thank you, ron reagan. i know. you disagree with me. you have entitlement to do that.
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thank you, karen finney. good luck with new show. her new show. msnbc. it's going to stay here. but anyway, starting june 8th. up next, the story behind this 1979 photo of the president. yes, you're looking at it. a 17-year-old future president. good looking guy then. this is "hardball." the place for politics. i am an american success story. i'm a teacher. i'm a firefighter. i'm a carpenter. i'm an accountant. a mechanical engineer. and i shop at walmart. truth is, over sixty percent of america
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supporting some of the biggest ideas in modern history. so why should our history matter to you? because for more than two centuries, we've been helping ideas move from ambition to achievement. ♪ and the next great idea could be yours. ♪ ha! back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first jon stewart said he thought the congressional hearings with irs officials would shed actually some light on the subject. wrong. things didn't quite pan out that way. >> in this hearing we would finally get the details of how these groups were targeted and who was responsible. i want a full accounting. >> i was unaware, i believe, at the time, that it had happened.
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>> when someone spotted it, they should have run up the chain and they didn't. >> i didn't know anything about that. >> i didn't know at that time. >> i'm not aware of that. >> i don't foe. >> i don't know. >> i have no memory of anyone doing that. >> i didn't know that. >> i'm not personally responsible. >> i -- i show up to work drunk. i, uh, i don't know how to read. i'm only here because i won a radio contest. >> he's the best. all that dodging led to this headline from the "washington post." how the irs scandal is like "the simps simpsons." it has to do with the famous bart simpson line. >> i didn't do it. nobody saw me to it. there's no way they can prove anything. >> get anything? i didn't do it. you can't prove it. finally "time" magazine did digging into president obama's past. we're talking about the 1979 high school prom pictures. here's 17-year-old barack obama or barry as he was called at the end of senior year with his date, meagan hughes, the young lady on the far right. there she is. a few others friends. they tracked down a yearbook
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note from barack to kelly, the girl on the left there. which reads in part "you are extremely sweet and foxy. you really deserve better than clowns like us. you even laugh at my jokes. i hope we can keep in touch this summer. call me and i'll buy you lunch sometime." what a cool guy. up next, weren't republicans going two more inclusive and less divisive on social issues? that's ahead. this is "hardball." the place for politics. i have low testosterone. there, i said it. see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. that's when i talked with my doctor. he gave me some blood tests... showed it was low t.
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i'm bertha coombs with cnbc market wrap. volatile day for stocks ends with modest losses.
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dow falling 12 points. s&p finishing down 4. nasdaq 3. hewlett-packard shares soaring 17%. meantime, jobless claims plunge by 23,000 last week. that was more than economists expected. and an upbeat report on the housing market. sales of new homes rose 2.3% last month. that, too, was better than expected. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." we're back. after mitt romney's loss last november, republicans regrouped, of course. they reassessed and renewed a pledge to broaden their tent, make it bigger and encourage more americans to become republicans. well, a party autopsy report out this spring found, "our candidates and office holders need to do a better job talking in normal, people-oriented terms
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and we need to go to communities where republicans to not normally go to to listen and make our case." virginia didn't seem to get that memo. not only is their republican candidate candidate for governor kuch cuccinelli, a darling, but bishop may be further to the right than cuccinelli. the "washington post" reports, "in his failed bid for the gop nomination in last year's u.s. senate race, jackson called gays and lesbians perverted and very sick people." that will win their votes. take a look at this video he posted in 2012. >> the democrat party has created an unholy alliance between certain so-called civil rights leaders and planned parenthood which has killed unborn black babies by the tens of millions. planned parenthood has been far more lethal to black lives than the kkk ever was. and the democrat party and their black civil rights allies are partners in this genocide.
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>> wow. it's hard to beat that. virginia republican seems to be saying we lose when we nominate moderates so we're going to win with true believers. john feehery is here for defense. he's republican consultant. "salon's" joan walsh is in the da's position tonight. what do you do when you're stuck with a lieutenant governor candidate? goo cuccinelli said i will not answer to that guy. a state, you and i know, and joan knows is the average state. the results coming out of virginia these days are about the same as the national average. it's not right wing, not left wing. it's in the middle. >> what you need to do is make this about terry mcauliffe and not about your lieutenant governor. i don't think most voters in virginia are going to vote for the lieutenant governor at this race. they're going to vote at the top of the ticket. you raise some important points,
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chris. that is the virginia selection system is broken. they cannot do a convention anymore. they have to go and let everyone have a chance to vote in a primary. if they voted in a primary, a guy like pete snyder could have been very competitive in a general election. and we wouldn't have this problem. it would have been easier for our candidate to keep the focus on terry mcauliffe who's a very flawed general election candidate. >> your advice there, i think to enka kapcapsulize it, joan, for purposes of rebuttal, hide the guy. on this show we're going to remind everybody from alaska to maine this is the republicans' idea of a candidate for statewide office. i think he represents the old -- not the old, the crazy wing of the party. your thoughts. >> he does. he's going to be the gift that keeps on giving. he's unapologetic. he came out today and told a local paper he stands by everything he said. he tweeted today the gays are icky. he wants attention. he's using this as a platform
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for his views. i means, cuccinelli can't have it both ways. he's campaigned with him but doesn't support any of his statements. it's going to be a really interesting dodging act. the other thing, chris, candidates like this also tar the party nationally. todd akin became not just a missouri problem, but a national problem, a mitt romney problem. they don't just drive away gays in this case or women necessarily. they drive away young people. young people are clambering for the gop to be more socially tolerant on gay issues. more socially tolerant around contraception. it has this nationalizing effect to just say despite what we heard from reince priebus we're not going to have a rethinking. we're just going to be the same old nuts. >> let's take a look at this -- speaking of which, what bishop jackson sound bites. this is his twitter account. i believe obama is the antichrist. but christians who follow obama would probably follow the aipt christ. are they christians?
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here's another. if bill clinton was the first black president, barack obama is the first homosexual president based on their respective affinities. i think the election of anthony weiner, parking the wienermobile in front of the mansion. i think it would be a symbol to your party of what's wrong -- you wouldn't be able to say the democratic party is sick. this kind of stuff, are you going to stand there and say -- or sit there, you're sitting, and say you can hide this guy, cuccinelli, and bishop jackson from the national press when they're running in a big state like virginia? >> no, i don't think we can. he reminds me a lot of on alan keyes, ran against barack obama. you know, we could have won that seat. >> trucked him in at the last minute. you didn't have a candidate. >> we could have beaten barack obama then he wouldn't be president obama today. this is the serious choices that the party makes when it puts guys like this up. we don't know where this ends up. we might be putting up a democrat now who's going to become president who we can't even -- this is what happens
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when you put up terribly flawed candidates. you give democrats a chance to win. terry mcauliffe might easily win now if we don't keep the focus on him which i think is really sad. >> joan, the problem that terry is trying to defend, it can't be defended, is real life republicans show up at these conventions. they are members of the party. they have republican buttons on their chest. they are registered. they are part of the party. they of sound mind, if you want to call it sound mind and body, pick these characters. >> they've done this in lots of states. the states that have nominated conventions as opposed to primaries really have a lot of trouble and it goes to the people who, god bless them, they really believe, they really turn out, and the more moderate forces in the republican party don't turn out. might turn out for a primary. so they've taken over the apparatus in a lot of states and we all know virginia's a purple state. it really could go either way. so to have the republican party branded for another election cycle as the party of nuts and
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crazies, especially when it comes to issues of women and president obama and gays and lesbians is a real problem. >> let me say quickly, chris, i don't think this is going to brand the party. you're going to have chris christie running in new jersey. he's going to win pretty easily. he's going to be much more of a standard bearer than e.w. jackson will be. your other point, that is that, you know, anthony weiner, being the new york mayor is a big deal and to have him be the nominee i think could really brand the democrats in a way that would be kind of silly. >> i don't think he's going to be the mayor. >> that is my concern. if he ever gets that far, the republican party will never stop talking about it. it will be like 9/11. every sentence will include weiner. it will be funny no matter what says it. thank you, joan. it's great to have you on as always. john feehery, you're great. you know how i say the that? like clinton says i like the tie. changing the senate rules. they're talking about getting
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rid of the filibuster rule. harry reid is the leader for cases when you're picking your own cabinet leaders. this is a big development in the u.s. senate and could be a healthy one. coming up in the next minute. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. can i ge, please? thank you. that's three new paper shredders. [ boris ] put 'em on my spark card. [ garth ] boris' small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase every day. great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. read back the chicken's testimony, please. "buk, buk, bukka!" [ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose 2% cash back or double miles on every purchase every day. told you i'd get half. what's in your wallet?
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i'm also a survivor of ovarian a writand uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick...and then i got better. welcome back "hardball." harry reid is fed up with the foot dragging of president obama's judicial nominees and he may be ready to do something, harry reid, historic. in the way republicans treat three upcoming high profile nominees, richard cordray,
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thomas perez, for labor secretary, and gina mccarthy to head the epa will determine whether reid does take the unusual step of trying to change senate rules so these kind of presidential nominees are approved with a simple 50-vote vote. you have the vice president. on the senate floor today we got a preview of how nasty this fight could get. first up harry calling out his republican counterpart mitch mcconnell with this. >> he should take a long look in the mirror and he should spend some time in honest reflection of republican's gridlock before he claims it, quote, there's no real problem here. >> well, mcconnell tossed back in the irs troubles with good measure, or for good measure. >> he wants to have no debate. do what i say and do it now. this is the culture of intimidation that we've seen at the irs, that we've seen at hhs, at the fcc, at the s.e.c., and now here in the senate. >> joining right now
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congressional correspondent for talking points memo and michael sheer. tell me the chances. let's do the bottom line politics. what are the chances that harry reid, democratic votes, to change the senate rules so the president can get his cabinet members agreed to by the senate with 50 votes with the control of presidency or 51 if they don't? >> i think majority leader harry reid is going to face a significant amount of pressure to face forward with -- >> speak the language -- don't use nuclear option. what are we talking about? getting rid of the ma sdwrort vote, you mean? >> right. so using an option that let's the majority change the rules of the senate with a bare majority. usually it takes a two-thirds majority. >> and push that through by majority vote? >> exactly. >> under the principle that the senate rules could be changed by majority vote or it's a new senate or what would be his
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rationale for being able to do that without breaking the rule that you need 60 votes to get something done? >> well, it's never been done before. the rules have never been changed on a partisan vote. they have never argued that there's been this kind of obstruction. in a recent report, president obama has dealt with obstruction for his judicial and cabinet nominees on a level that none of the last five presidents have. >> well, sahil made a good point. i didn't even think about this. to change the rules the way they would do it would be in itself historic and maybe appellate levels would be historic also. >> and i don't think there's any chance this is going to happen. the reason, harry reid does not want to do this. >> it's a head fake? >> it's a head fake. he was standing up to bill saying, how dare you, this is a seizure of power by president bush. >> the same argument?
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>> the same argument he's arguing against. what happened? republicans pushed forward on it, they had a gang of 14, that's the playbook we are being looking at now. reid is going to raise the profile -- >> will it go to vote? >> no i don't think it will get to a vote. they are not going to go nuclear. >> what do you think, how far do you think this is a head fake or do you agree it won't have a majority vote to change the rules? sahil? >> michael may be right. he hasn't made any decisions on this. >> why are we talking about this. >> it's leverage. >> explain. >> it's leverage for him. mcconnell is taking his threat serio seriously. just today we heard that mcconnell wanted to hold a vote this week and mcconnell caved on it. it's a concession that he made. mcconnell wouldn't be doing
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that, raising the volume if he thought harry reid were bluffing. >> my problem with both of you guys, i think the problem with the 60 vote thing is this. i can see it on major piece of legislation like health care, because it changes history, or even civil rights. i understand that. but if you do it every time, like cabinet appointments, you're basically allowing the fact that this country is never going to have anything more than a roughly 50/50 split. it's always going to be around 55 senators. it's never going to be 62 again. you know what i mean? your thought on that, too. if we never have a thin majority, either party controlling either house, you're creating a road block system in the fact if you keep demanding 60 votes. >> it's an entirely different conversation when you're talking about legislation with nominees. all cabinet nominees are temporary. legislation is permanent. a lot of democrats, many of them aren't saying so publicly but privately they have concerns
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when republicans get to power, they may try to gut abortion rates with majority vote. there are a lot of concerns about that. >> nobody is talking about changing the filibuster role for legislation. >> exactly. >> i agree. >> they are not talking about that. >> it's a modest step but it may happen. sahil, thank you. thank you, michael. when we return, let me finish with, you're watching "hardball," your place for politics. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients to nurses to the right machines while dramatically reducing waiting time. [ telephone ringing ] now a waiting room is just a room. [ static warbles ] available out there. i knew devry university would give me the skills
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let me finish tonight with this. the single concern i have about the right wing weighing down the republican party as it's doing in virginia is it makes it too easy for the democrats. they don't have to try hard to win the center. otherwise, i take a live by the sword, die by the sword attitude towards the republicans. if candidates are ready to go running off to the fringe to run primaries, they should have to carry all of that baggage on their backs come november. if c uchlt ccinelli is willing to run so far right, if the party is nutty enough to run that character they put up as lieutenant governor, let them reap the whirlwind. most people will vote democratic to avoid voting for the fringe. so be it. that's "hardball" for now. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. thanks, chris, and thanks to you for tuning
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